Influencer Trends Gaining Traction for 2018

Influencer marketing continues to gather steam as we enter 2018.

According to a study by influencer marketing platform Linqia, called The State of Influencer Marketing 2018, the tactic is growing in both popularity and effectiveness.

Linqia’s study found that 39% of marketers are planning to increase their influencer budgets in the coming year, and the reason why is apparent: companies who used influencer marketing campaigns in 2017 were nearly unanimous (92%) in declaring its effectiveness.

This is the second year of Linqia’s study, which surveyed 181 marketers in 2017 on how the use of influencer marketing is successfully impacting brands and agencies. In addition to general favorability, the study also dealt with specific spending plans for 2018. 25% of businesses surveyed said they plan to spend $50,000 to $100,000 per influencer-driven marketing campaign in 2018; 30% said they plan to spend between 25 and 50k.

Influencer marketing was just gaining its first footholds in 2017; conceptually, it was a sharp divergence from traditional marketing techniques. Now, however, young companies have begun leveraging this tool to the fullest possible extent-- and larger, better-established companies are following suit. Linqia’s study found that 46% of marketers run 2-5 programs per year per brand, across a portfolio of dozens of brands.

 
"Marketers are starting to measure the effectiveness of [influencer] programs using mid- to lower-funnel metrics, as opposed to high-level metrics like reach and engagement"

Said Kristen Hersant, VP of marketing at Linqia.

 

In 2017, ownership over marketing programs belonged primarily to advertising agencies, brand marketing, and shopper marketing.

However, the increase in funds allocated to influencer marketing campaigns has shifted the power into the hands of media teams. Brand presentation is more important than ever before, especially online; the study noted a distinct hierarchy in platforms used to host marketing campaigns. 92% of marketers found Instagram to be the top performer in their influencer programs, and are planning to channel focus into the platform in 2018. At 77%, Facebook was found to be the second most important social network for influencer marketing.

Hersant also explained that despite reports of blog platforms losing steam in terms of marketing, Linqia’s survey noted “a real need for long form educational content, whether that be a video or blog post to educate and inspire consumers in a way that will ultimately drive action.”

Conversely, Snapchat was found to be diminishing in success, with 50% of marketers surveyed reporting influencers leaving Snapchat in favor of Instagram.

When asked how they anticipate staying on top of influencer marketing trends in 2018, 52% of those surveyed stated intentions to leverage multiple types of influencers, integrating celebrity, top-tier, and micro- influencers as part of an overall game plan. 44% also said they were preparing to cross influencer content with other digital channels to boost their effectiveness, and 36% declared hopes to increase e-commerce sales the same way.

Calculating the ROI (Return on Investment) from influencer marketing remains a top challenge for marketers.

Very little has been recorded on the material effectiveness of influencer marketing vs. traditional brand-created content-- although of those surveyed by Linqia, 51% of businesses who had compared the two reported that influencer content outperformed brand content.

"We are seeing a trend for influencer marketing and the content to be benchmarked against other media metrics and media investments that go hand-in-hand with the content repurposing," said Maria Sipka, president and cofounder of Linqia. "It is extending the metric beyond just the original or organic results that a program is driving and how can that content perform in other channels."

It seems that as we move into 2018, we can anticipate the development of an integrated marketing approach across most businesses. According to Hersant, marketers are beginning to “take [influencer] content and leverage it beyond the scope of the original program in order to drive more effectiveness from those additional digital programs.” It seems likely that those brands which combine their strategies will find the most success within the current, technology-driven marketplace.

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TRENDSVicki Frid